Program Overview

AdmissionsProgram Overview

Program Overview

The Postbac Premed Program allows students, alongside all other Columbia University undergraduates, to complete the academic prerequisites for admission to schools of allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and graduate programs in allied health fields such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, or physician’s assistant programs. Additionally, the program provides students with opportunities for practical clinical and research experience, guidance throughout the medical school application process, and institutional support through a letter of recommendation.


The Columbia University Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program, the oldest and largest program of its kind in the United States, aims to meet the needs of college graduates who wish to pursue a medical education, but who have taken few or none of the core science courses required for admission to medical school, dental school, veterinary medical school, or other allied health graduate programs. 


Columbia has long been a pioneer both in medical education and in educational opportunities for adult students.

Founded in 1767, Columbia’s medical school was the first to award the M.D. degree in the American colonies.

In 1830, Columbia introduced a “Literary and Scientific Course” for working men in New York as an alternative to the full-time undergraduate curriculum of Columbia College.

Beginning in the early years of last century, the University formally offered premedical preparation to students who were not matriculated for an undergraduate degree and, in 1955, established the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program within the Columbia University School of General Studies.

The combination of Columbia’s renowned premedical sciences curriculum and the wealth of clinical and research opportunities in New York City makes for a Postbaccalaureate experience of unparalleled richness.

The Postbac Student

Postbac Premed students come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some have already begun a career and are looking for more from their professional lives, others have experienced personal situations that inspired them to go into a medical field, and some are seeking the science education they didn’t take as an undergraduate. 

Upon arriving at campus, Postbac Premed students have completed a rigorous undergraduate education, but have completed little to no premedical sciences coursework; they are not looking for academic enhancement in their academic records. Such students, if their determination is unwavering, tend to find their encounter with Columbia’s intensive sciences curriculum and vibrant premedical community to be a rewarding and life-altering experience, as well as superb preparation for medical school.


Note: The following enrollment statistics are based on 2016-2017 official reporting.

  • More than 330 students enrolled
  • More than 120 students in their glide/application year
  • 63% female; 37% male
  • 31% of American students are Asian American, African American, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American
  • Average age: 27


Columbia University’s internationally-recognized science faculty, a part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is committed to teaching and advising. In addition to building relationships within the classroom, faculty members take a special interest in Postbac Premed students outside of class, and students may have the opportunity to serve as teaching or research assistants and co-author research papers.

Medical School Placement

In recent years, up to 90 percent of Postbac Premed students have been admitted to medical school upon first application. For a full list of schools where Postbac Premed students have matriculated in recent years, visit the Health Professional Schools Attended page.

Columbia Postbac students are extremely compelling applicants because while at the University they are part of a community of like-minded individuals who share a serious passion for the health sciences and medicine—composed not only of peers, but also of professors and academic advisors.